Cramer's in total disbelief that anyone could call the AT&T management team "overpaid." The stock is up 42%, they offer a 4% dividend, and the company is incredibly well run. That's why he has been behind the stock for so long.
So what's driving the growth? According to Chief Financial Officer Rick Lindner, there are a few factors at play. Three large acquisitions have led to double-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share -- seven quarters in a row -- and free cash flow per share. There's the exclusive carrier deal with Apple for its much-drooled-over iPhone. And the company is enjoying tremendous growth in its wireless and data services businesses.
"So we expect positive top-line growth in '07," Lidner says. That's what has allowed AT&T to raise its dividend for the past 22 years straight.
"Things are moving pretty quickly. It's moving quickly in the industry," Lidner says, "but we've got, now, such a terrific set of assets it gives us lots of opportunities on the growth side."
Cramer usually doesn't recommend long-term stocks because businesses change, but if you're looking to gift stock to a newborn, this is the one. You can feel confident buying it and putting it away.
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